Part of HR compliance Dallas TX is staying on top of state and federal discrimination laws to prevent issues at your company. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) was enacted to protect older workers from being fired and demoted or from facing other types of discrimination, such as in hiring and promotion decisions. If you own a business or if you are a human resources manager, you will need to know about whether the ADEA affects your workers and how to avoid violating it.
HR Compliance Dallas TX: Age Discrimination and the ADEA
Here are the basic things business owners and HR employees need to know about the ADEA:
- It doesn’t apply to every company. The ADEA only applies to businesses with at least 20 employees working every workday for at least 20 weeks out of the year. If you have 19 employees, the ADEA does not apply to your company. If you’re not sure which employees count in the total, contact a business and employment lawyer.
- It doesn’t apply to every employee. The ADEA protects employees aged 40 and over; however, it does not protect executives over the age of 65 who have been in that position for at least two years and who will, upon retirement, be immediately entitled to an annual retirement benefit of at least $44,000. For example, if your CEO has a retirement plan that will provide her with $50,000 per year immediately upon retirement, and she is 72 years old and has been CEO for three years, she is not protected by the ADEA. Note that this exception does not apply to middle management; it only applies to the highest level employees. The ADEA also does not apply to police officers or firefighters who may have mandatory age requirements, or to employees whose jobs require “bona fide occupational qualifications” that cannot be met by those 40 and up.
- It promotes equal access and prohibits discrimination and harassment. You and your management cannot fire employees covered by the ADEA because they are 40 or older. You also cannot use their age as a reason to demote them or deny them promotions. The ADEA also protects them from harassment because of their age. HR departments should make sure to educate the staff about what harassment means.
- It requires posted notices in the workplace. The notices must be posted in areas that they will be easily seen by employees, potential employees, and union workers.
- It requires solid recordkeeping. You must maintain employee records for at least three years with all the employee’s personal details as well as records of their hiring, firing, promotions, demotions, transfers and layoffs. Failure to maintain these records could land your business in trouble, as the EEOC will ask for them if an employee files a charge under the ADEA.
An ADEA lawsuit can be costly and can harm your company’s reputation, even if the suit has no basis. The law in the area of age discrimination is very nuanced, and in forming your company’s policies, you should consult with experienced employment attorneys who routinely represent businesses. Ensure your HR compliance Dallas TX with respect to the ADEA by contacting Simon | Paschal PLLC at (972) 893-9340. We can help draft employee handbooks and help train HR staff on the ADEA and other areas of employment law.
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